Chewy Granola Bars

Granola seems to be all the rage these days, particularly when it’s in bar form. There are myriad different brands flying about, each hoping for a bite at an increasingly sizeable pile of health-food dung. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since it shows that people are becoming a little more conscious of their health. However, with a surge in demand comes an equivalent increase in price; a single, top-end, chewy granola bar will set one back in the region of £1. Cumulatively, that could end up being a rather high price to pay to maintain one’s health. Besides, granola bars are, as you shall soon find out, incredibly simple to make.

These granola bars were made with a very keen sense that they should be extremely healthy. Relative to shop bought granola bars they contain very little refined sugar, with most of it coming from the fruit. However, it was more important that these bars should contain as little fat as possible, let alone the abhorrent stuff found in butter. As such, a little rapeseed oil seemed as though it would make a fantastic replacement and indeed it did.

You see, rapeseed has relatively little saturated fat and is crammed full of omega-3. Indeed, even when compared to olive oil it comes up trumps – though it doesn’t quite manage to hold a candle to the taste of the latter. Anyway, this seemed to work rather well, though butter would perhaps make a slightly softer bar. The sacrifice is wholly acceptable, though don’t let me stop you adding butter if you so wish.

For something a little more naughty, please check out my recipes for Chocolate and Hazelnut FlapjacksDouble Chocolate Flapjacks & Sunflower Seed Flapjacks

Chewy Granola Bars

Makes 12-16

Ingredients:

• 200g porridge oats

• 300g dried fruit or nuts, these contained raisins, dates, apricots and almonds

• A pinch of salt

• ½ tsp ground cinnamon

• 2 tbsp ground almonds

• 100g caster or granulated sugar

• 4 tbsp golden syrup, corn syrup will do

• A dash of water

• 3-4 tbsp rapeseed oil

Method:

1. Grease a suitably sized cake tin, mine was roughly 20cm by 10cm, and heat the oven to 180C. Mix together the porridge oats, fruit, nuts, salt, cinnamon and ground almonds.

2. Melt the golden syrup and sugar over a medium heat, add a little splash of water just to bring it all together. Remove from the heat once the mixture has turned clear. Tip the molten into the dry, mix thoroughly and add enough oil to bring it all together. Press this firmly into the baking tray and bake for 30-40 minutes.

3. Once golden brown remove the granola from the oven. Allow to cool completely before turning out. Cut into the desired size and enjoy with a strong coffee, or on the go.

Cost: Oats, as well you know, are a ridiculously cheap ingredient. Indeed, the only expense in this recipe is the fruit, but if you shop wisely this shouldn’t set you back too much either. In total, these granola bars can easily be made for roughly £1.90 – that’s around 7 or 8 times cheaper than anything like these could be bought for in a shop.

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110 comments on “Chewy Granola Bars

  1. Shira
    April 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Looking wonderful and what a brilliantly simple (and cheap) recipe! I might give this a go and post about it too as I think you’ve really nailed this one! Looks fabulous Nick! Woot!

  2. Somer
    April 17, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Wow. Totally sick of buying granola bars, they are usually filled with copious amounts of sugar too, and believe it or not, most bars on the shelf in the U.S. are NOT VEGAN. I have to label read like crazy. Even the “healthy brands” have eggs or dairy in them. Weird. Totally making my own this week. Thanks!!!

  3. Cathy
    April 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    They look yummy! But tell me, do you know if there is a difference between granola bars and flapjacks? I always thought granola was an American brandname…

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      Thanks, Cathy. I don’t know. I get the impression that granola bars usually have a little more substance to them…

  4. Amrita
    April 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Kaa from The Jungle Book! Hah…he was a piece of work.

    And your accidentally (ahem) granola bars, although not for gluttons like me, sure do look very pinteresting. See what I did there?

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm

      Actually, originally he was on of the good guys – the film changed him a lot. Haha – very good!

  5. An Unrefined Vegan
    April 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    A very happy accident. They might accidentally get made in my kitchen and accidentally get eaten. Do you think maple syrup would stand in for corn syrup?

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      I’m sure it would be an incredibly delicious substitution!

  6. Bluejellybeans
    April 17, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    They look delicious and don’t even mind if they are healthy or not, I’m doing them :)

  7. susartandfood
    April 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Accidentally vegan – smile – they look delish

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      I’m glad that made you smile! Thanks, Susan.

  8. Conor Bofin
    April 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    They look excellent. I do something similar but I use dried cranberries in the mix. I have to admit to using a lot of butter and ending up with a bar that never dries (until it gets into my arteries). However, they are very tasty and worth the extra 30 minutes on the treadmill that they earn for me.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks! Yes, that sounds great. I don’t think butter would have added much to be honest. I find that using butter in absolutely everything is a little anachronistic to be honest – there are so many viable alternatives these days.

  9. Choc Chip Uru
    April 17, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    These bars are fantastic! The fact that they are accidentally vegan is awesome too :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      Thanks. I’m coming round to accidentally vegan things.

  10. egg me on
    April 17, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Oh wow. So many great things about this post. The fact that Pinterest is now your mistress (I’m loving it myself). The Kaa reference. Your objection to Facebook (I’m on it, but certainly don’t love it) And yes, these “accidentally vegan” granola bars. Thanks for giving us non-vegans and sometimes fatties the okay to add a little butter, too. Great stuff, man!

  11. Kate Olsson
    April 17, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    These are fabulous. I’m such a sucker for a wholesome DIY granola bar and these look dangerously good.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks, Kate. Me too, they were – I nearly died.

  12. Márcia Gonçalves
    April 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    I still haven’t made granola bars , so I have to try this ones! Thanks! :p

  13. mamagwen
    April 18, 2012 at 12:58 am

    Love this idea! It’d make a great snack for my toddler and so cheap too. Thanks for sharing the recipe :)

  14. tanyamhudson
    April 18, 2012 at 1:42 am

    These look delicious! I’ve made pretty decent granola before, but never granola bars…though I can’t fathom why, because a granola bar would satisfy my quick-and-easy-to-grab-on-a-weekday breakfast needs just as well as all those muffins I make! And these also satisfy my breakfast-must-not-be-full-of-sugar-and-fat requirements. Might have to do a “granola bars for Monday” post one day soon…. Thanks for sharing!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      Thanks for the comments, Tanya – I do like being appreciated. Please give them a go, you’d love them.

  15. Michelle
    April 18, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Ah, the siren song of Pinterest… I’ve been using it mostly as a “to do” list, pinning recipes I intend to make one day. But also the mean girl in me likes to look at how bad are the tastes of folks I grew up with! Oh, and by the way, your granola bars look great.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:55 pm

      Indeed! Thanks, Michelle. I just use it look at pictures – haha.

  16. Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy
    April 18, 2012 at 2:26 am

    Terrific!

  17. Sacha
    April 18, 2012 at 2:43 am

    These are lovely looking granola bars — cooked to a perfect deep golden brown. I have avoided Pintrest so far (I don’t need another source of distraction). Let’s see how long that lasts…

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm

      Thanks, Sacha. It didn’t last long for me…

  18. Shiny Tomato
    April 18, 2012 at 2:47 am

    These look chewy and great!

  19. Shonnie
    April 18, 2012 at 3:14 am

    These look very nice. 😀 Thanks for stopping by.

  20. Just A Smidgen
    April 18, 2012 at 6:05 am

    Love this.. I’ve got a few granola bar recipes, but always looking for a new one to try. I can’t stand the cardboard flavored variety in the stores.. So.. Yes, I will follow your Pinterest if you will follow mine, lol.. And Facebook as well, if you choose to sign up I will “Like” you:)

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:52 pm

      Thanks, Smidge. I think you’d like these. I’ll let everyone know if I join facebook! I think we already follow each other on pinterest.

  21. baconbiscuit212
    April 18, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Like you, I have a Pinterest account too. But I totally draw the line at Facebook. Never had an account and cannot be persuaded to get one now. Be strong, Frugal. It will go the way of MySpace judging from the growing Facebook backlash.

    btw, these look terrific by the way — as always!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      I have a personal account but find it difficult to bother making a blog one. I don’t like spending time on it as it is. Thanks, Daisy. I think it;s admiraable that you don’t use facebook.

      • baconbiscuit212
        April 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm

        There are a few of us out there who have never been in facebook. Like unicorns! But not as sparkly 😉

        • frugalfeeding
          April 25, 2012 at 11:40 pm

          Haha! I’m afraid I shall have to make a frugal facebook page soon! Sorry!

  22. Purely.. Kay
    April 18, 2012 at 7:13 am

    I won’t even ask how these bars turned vegan lol… because they still look delicious to me. And I know I’d be happy to snack on them all day

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      I just thought I’d use oil and not butter and then realised that they were vegan! Thanks, Kay.

  23. thelittleloaf
    April 18, 2012 at 9:25 am

    I go through phases with Pinterest, but do really love it as a catalogue of recipes to try – saves me bookmarking every single one!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      I’m sure I will too. That’s a good use for it, Kate.

  24. bakedinpretoria
    April 18, 2012 at 10:39 am

    I like that it’s accidentely vegan. Nothing should be vegan on purpose. I also seriously like your table by the way.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm

      I entirely agree! Haha, thanks – many people covet my table.

  25. Korena in the Kitchen
    April 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    I make my own granola, but I haven’t yet made my own bars… and I really should because I am definitely guilty of shelling out way too much money for a box of them at the store!

  26. Karista
    April 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    These look delicious! What a lovely recipe and they’re vegan! Great for the dairy intolerant foodies. I love bakedinpretoria’s comment… nothing should be vegan on purpose. LOL! I’m inclined to agree. Happy Cooking Frugal!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      Thanks, Karista. I’m inclined to agree too!

  27. Bam's Kitchen
    April 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Your accidental vegan bars looks delish. Are they chewy or crunchy?

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      Thanks, Bam. I think the title may clear that question up – how observant you are.

  28. Brianne
    April 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    I have been meaning to make my own granola for months. There’s just too many other things I want to make first! Lately I’ve been reading more granola bar recipes. It’s crazy how easy and simple they are to make, and you know exactly what’s going into them. Yum.

    Welcome to Pinterest. It’s my second home on the Internet.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm

      You should make these, Brianne :D. Pinterest is slowly becoming my second home too.

  29. spree
    April 18, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Some work so diligently at cooking vegan and you, clever Nick, happened on it by ACCIDENT! I do like the sounds of this and will give it a go, maybe using date or coconut sugar in place of white. I’ll follow you on Pinterest! Follow me back! :)

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      Yes, I try not to be brilliant – alas it’s difficult. Haha, if only. That’s a good idea. I shall certainly follow you, Spree.

  30. the Jilb
    April 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    You crack me up. “Pinterest has become my mistress.” So true, so true.

    These bars look fabulous, and I can’t wait to try them! With butter, probably…

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      I do try! :D. I’m glad you like the look of them.

  31. Mama's Gotta Bake
    April 19, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Delish and healthy! Will give them a try!

  32. Leslie Chapman
    April 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    These look tasty and delicious :)

  33. Cara
    April 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I can NOT wait for the day that the Frugs is *finally* on Facebook! And I am going to find you now on Pinterest. Look at you! You are branching out and joining us losers. First with granola bars, then with Pinterest. What’s next? Looks like you are going to have to start taking pictures of the meals you eat for an entire day. That’s the true food blogger way :)
    I’m excited about this granola bar recipe, however. My friend was asking if I knew any recipe that I trusted that was good and now I can forward this to her…

    • frugalfeeding
      April 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Haha! the time will come, I expect. It loathes me to join people like you haha. I blog most things I cook to be honest… I’m glad you have that much faith in me!

  34. christopher.
    April 19, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    “Accidentally vegan” is hilarious and wonderful. I feel so meat-centric in my inability to understand how that can happen.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 25, 2012 at 11:51 pm

      Haha, Thanks, Christopher. Don’t be meat centric – it’s bad for you 😀

      • christopher.
        May 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm

        Haha. I try. I definitely don’t eat as much meat as I used to. I guess when I really think about it, a lot of the stir fries and pastas I do are vegan, so long as I don’t add some chicken or something. Basically, for quick dinners sometimes, I just sautee some veggies in olive oil, and toss some pasta in with another little splash of oil, toss to coat, and nom.

  35. Sally
    April 20, 2012 at 5:26 am

    these look SO good! i’m always on the hunt for new granola/granola bar recipes :)

  36. foodblogandthedog
    April 20, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Gonna try these with honey I think, then they will be accidentally unvegan.

    • frugalfeeding
      April 25, 2012 at 11:44 pm

      That would be lovely. It;s so silly that honey isn’t vegan. If you take that approach then surely nothing that grows is vegan since bees pollinate…

  37. Simran S. & Stacie D.
    April 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Gosh these look so good and good for you. I love that the are “accidently” vegan. I love those kind of accidents :)

    • frugalfeeding
      May 6, 2012 at 11:39 pm

      Thanks! they were. Haha, they are good accidents indeed.

  38. Zen and Genki
    April 20, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Wonderful! Thank you so much for posting…so thrilled about your happy “accident” …more thrilled that you decided to share :)

    • frugalfeeding
      April 26, 2012 at 12:05 am

      Haha! No problem. there’s nothing quite like a happy accident.

  39. Aimee@clevermuffin
    April 22, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I was very excited to see this post, partly because of my own dislike of how much granola bars cost, and secondly to see if you gave in and just used a whole lot of butter (and I’m talking upwards of 250grams) to bind them (makiing them not so healthy). Bravo to you on both fronts!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 25, 2012 at 11:19 pm

      Haha – I did not, butter is SO bad for you… Thanks, Aimee.

  40. jobakes
    April 23, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Ooo now, these are a blast from the past – I used to make these sort of bars all the time back in my dieting days – I used maple syrup for sweetness and apple purée for added moisture. Must make some more for days when I’ve run out of cereal and need brekkie on the go!

    • frugalfeeding
      April 25, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      That sounds like a delicious idea! Fantastic, Jo.

  41. epicuriousbrit
    April 25, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    My roommate will be very happy if I make these for her! Thanks for the inspiration!

  42. mixmakegrow
    April 26, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    These look delicious. I’ve been looking for a good granola bar recipe–can’t wait to try it!

  43. bigtimeloser
    April 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    These look quite tasty. :) They may make a breakfast appearance here soon. :)

    • frugalfeeding
      May 6, 2012 at 11:32 pm

      Thanks! I hope they do, they were such a good start to the day.

  44. jentoo
    May 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Not only do they sound delicious, they are delicious!
    We went tame the first round and didn’t add anything but coconut to accommodate the younger palates in the family. I used more oats instead.
    We used honey and brown sugar for sweetening. We used coconut oil for the fat though I might try butter next time for the flavor. Blacklisting butter is old school by the way. It’s rather good for you. http://www.naturalactivities.com/2012/05/only-real-butter-thank-you-very-much.html. At least, that’s what the “latest research” is showing.
    I used coconut oil to grease the pans which was a mistake. It tends to soak in instead of creating a barrier so they stuck like crazy. Next time I will line the pans with PAM or butter greased aluminum foil.
    Thanks for a great recipe! I’ve been wanting to make granola bars for a very long time.

    • frugalfeeding
      May 3, 2012 at 9:04 am

      Fantastic, Jennifer. I don’t blacklist butter, life’s too short. But considering it unhealthy definitely isn’t an anachronism. In simple terms, fat, it’s a lot worse for your health than rapeseed oil is. It may have positive effects, but it is undeniable that saturated fat is negative. I think that you should read what that research says as: ‘Butter is good for you, if eaten in moderation’.

      • jentoo
        May 5, 2012 at 5:45 pm

        True. I eat everything in moderation so did not think about stating that caveat.
        There actually is some debate about saturated fats being bad for you. That’s why I said “latest research”. Scientists are always changing their minds and doing new studies when evidence starts to show that the previous study may not have been entirely accurate.
        I would tend to agree with the new thought that saturated fat is not necessarily bad and has positive benefits on cell structure and health. My parents, my siblings and I grew up on whole milk from the dairy, butter, and eating meat. We are all lean, have low blood pressure and no cholesterol problems. Of course we are all moderates too and try to eat a balanced diet including whole grains, nuts, veggies, and fruits.
        So, who knows…
        Thanks for a great blog.

        • frugalfeeding
          May 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

          The problem with research like this is that there’s always ‘latest research’ that isn’t fully tested or proven. I tend to think that it doesn’t matter, moderation is key, which is something you seem to adhere to. Rapeseed is undeniably better for you, even from the point of view that it doesn’t have as much fat in it. That’s why I used it. Thanks, Jennifer.

  45. mamagwen
    May 24, 2012 at 6:27 am

    These granola bars are amazing! I made them the other day and we just couldn’t stop eating them. As we say in our house, they were very ‘morish’, i.e. if you ate some, we couldn’t stop there, we had to eat more and more of it :)
    Thank you so much for the recipe, I’m off to make some more!

    • frugalfeeding
      May 24, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      Thanks, Gwen! I’m so glad you made them! I found them moreish too. You should add your own little twist :)

  46. oliveoil
    January 29, 2013 at 1:14 am

    I’d substitute the rapeseed oil (YUCK as it is chemically extracted) with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

    • frugalfeeding
      February 4, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      Not always, the rapeseed oil I use is pressed.

  47. Nadejda
    February 11, 2013 at 10:42 am

    what can i buy to substitute the golden syrup, or do you know an Italian substitute for this ingredient?

    • frugalfeeding
      February 12, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Ummmm! Try some delis, I’ve done a little research and apparently they often stock it over there.

  48. onemunchingmomma
    February 17, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    These look really good! Looking forward to trying it and checking out more of your recipes! Thanks for visiting my blog and for the like!

  49. Charlie
    March 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Good Morning Nick!

    These sound so good! (would love pics though)

    Thank you that there are no coconut or dates!

    You have made my day.

    Also I do have to say that I love your sense of humour.

    I’m Canadian with British Roots and I definitely lean heavily to my British side.

    Keep the recipes coming.

    Have a Joyful Day :~D
    Charlie

    • frugalfeeding
      March 21, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Hey, Charlie! Thanks. I think my humour appeals to most – Americans find it cute… or something.

  50. Charlie
    March 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Nadejda:

    You could use regular corn syrup, or even make your own, But there really is no substitute for Lyle’s golden syrup.

    IMO it is the best on the market.

    You could maybe order it online. I hope you find it.

    Have a Joyful Day :~D
    Charlie

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